Glen Rice Jr. made a surprise return to the Breakers’ line up last night, but could not help them avoid a 108-90 loss to the Cairns Taipans in NBL action last night.
Rice Jr., who had been arrested and charged with assault merely 10 days after joining the team last month, was cleared of any contrary conduct by Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit. Coach Dan Shamir wasted little time getting him back on court, and the six foot six shooting guard repaid the faith with a game-high 30 points, along with 12 rebounds and eight assists.
However, his return came at the cost of Sek Henry, who began the game on the bench despite top-scoring in last weekend’s win over the Illawarra Hawks. There was a noticeable drop off in defence as the Breakers struggled to contain a free-scoring Taipans outfit, who jumped out to a 31-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.
RJ Hampton, the clubs’ big signing and predicted NBA first-round draft pick, was reduced to a bit-part player with only four points in 16 minutes on court.
To make matters worse, former Breakers player DJ Newbill scored 20 points for the home side, helping them to push the lead out to 61-44 at halftime.
Staring down that sort of deficit, it was difficult to see the Breakers salvaging anything. The 18 point margin ended up being one of the heaviest of their now 3-9 season so far.
They return to Auckland to face the Brisbane Bullets on Monday night at Spark Arena.